Nawaz can come back any time: Supreme Court of Pakistan

Nawaz can come back any time: SC
Says PM violated court orders; directs Punjab govt not to issue statements on Sharif’s return
By Sohail Khan: The News, October 31, 2007

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reiterated that former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif can come to Pakistan any time and stressed for the implementation of its earlier judgment in letter and spirit. A seven-member larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing a contempt of court petition filed by the PML-N.

The Supreme Court in its historic judgment on August 23 this year had ruled that Nawaz Sharif has inalienable right to return to the country and participate in political activities with the directions that the federal and provincial governments should not hamper the safe return of the former premier.

During the hearing, the Supreme Court observed that the statements given by the foreign secretary, the chief of protocol and the chairman PIA apparently proved that the prime minister violated the court orders.

The court referred to the statement of the foreign secretary that said that he got verbal instructions from the prime minister on telephone to provide a PIA aircraft for a VVIP flight from Islamabad to Jeddah.

The court observed that it seems that from 6th of September steps were being taken by the prime minister to violate the order of the Supreme Court in this case. Attorney General of Pakistan (AG) Malik Muhammad Qayyum agreeing that no one can stop Nawaz Sharif from coming back pleaded for a short time to talk to "highest office" in the government since the allegations were very serious at which the court adjourned the hearing till November 8.

Fakharuddin G Ibrahim, the counsel for the PML-N, submitted that directions should be given to the government to arrange the return of Nawaz Sharif while, in the meantime, the court may fix the responsibility. Ibrahim said he has been told by his client that the Saudi authorities would fully comply with the court judgment.

Wasim Sajjad, representing Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, while appearing before the court submitted that the premier has highest respect for the apex court orders and he had no involvement in sending Nawaz back to Saudi Arabia on September 10.

The Supreme Court directed the highest functionaries of the Punjab government to refrain from issuing statements regarding stoppage of Nawaz Sharif's comeback as the matter is sub-judice. It observed that if the highest functionaries will not abstain from issuing such statements there will be no purpose of this court to function.

AFP adds: "The judgment passed by this court is very much intact . . . and is required to be implemented in letter and spirit," the chief justice told the Supreme Court.

"There was a clear-cut violation of our judgment."

Chaudhry asked the AG to tell him "whom should the court summon for prosecution" over the apparent contempt of court caused by Sharif's deportation.

Hundreds of Sharif's supporters clapped and shouted slogans against President General Pervez Musharraf outside the Supreme Court after the move by the chief justice.


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